Wildfire smoke prompts Tri-Cities Code Red air quality alert

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)  Air quality in the Tri-Cities will be unhealthy Wednesday, even for people who don’t have a history of breathing problems.

That was the warning issued Tuesday by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as wildfires blanketed Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia with smoke for another day.

The Tennessee Air Quality Forecast expanded the Code Red Air Quality Alert to include the Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Great Smoky Mountains, and Chattanooga.

The update on Facebook blamed wildfires in Tennessee and across the Southeast, many of which were intentionally started by arsonists.

The Environmental Protection Agency established the color-coded air quality index.   Code Red means “Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

2016fallfiremap Air Quality Guide (.PDF)

Monday and Tuesday, the Tri-Cities was under a Code Orange air quality meaning breathing problems likely for sensitive groups like children, the elderly, and people with a history of breathing problems.

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